In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published.
First, some positive news. I’ve been editing my second novel, a sci-fi adventure story for young adults, and enjoyed whipping the text into excellent shape. Only another 6,500 words to go… yippee.
More positive news: I’ve also been editing my short stories (a selection of the ones I wrote during my NaNoWriMo challenge #30days30shorts) and started submitting them to competitions. No news to report yet… fingers crossed.
And more good news: These little signs of recognition mean a great deal.
- The Ramblers contacted me last week, and asked me to write a blog post for their site, on the theme of footpaths. Done.
- Last month my coastalwalker.co.uk blog was listed by Winfields as one of the best outdoor blogs of 2017.
Now back to my main goal: I’m still trying to find a home for my first novel, a story set in 6th century China. Last month, I came up with a sub-goal: submit to 30 agents. I’d already submitted to 20, but people advised me to try harder before giving up.
Submitting is hard work. I’ve moaned about this before, but you have to:
- research the agencies,
- pick a suitable one,
- search that agency’s website for agents,
- look at their individual interests,
- work out if they are taking on new clients,
- look at the submission guidance,
- decide if they want a one-page synopsis or a two-page synopsis, or whatever,
- work out if they want three chapters, first 10,000 words, or whatever,
- check if they’re fussy about fonts (although why anybody chooses to read Times New Roman script on screen is beyond me!)
- write an enticing, personally tailored, and irresistible query letter,
- check everything (again) for typos and spelling mistakes,
- finally, shove everything into an email addressed to the RIGHT person,
- and hit SEND!
Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that agents are supposed to be working for the writer, and not the other way round.
Anyway, I’ve achieved my goal of 30 submissions. I’ve had 17 rejections, including some very nice ones with encouraging comments, and a few requests to see the whole manuscript. Now waiting to see if any more responses trickle in.